An Indian-origin doctor's new brain surgery technique to save the life of a seriously ill newborn baby may now be used by medical practitioners to treat children all over the world.
Jo Bhattacharya, a surgeon at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Sick Children, was asked to operate on a 16-day-old child who had been diagnosed with a rare brain condition called the Vein of Galen malformation.
One of only two specialists in the UK who can treat the illness, which causes a vein in a child's head to swell to the size of an egg and is fatal if left untreated, Bhattacharya, carried out the first of a series of eight operations on baby Pierce Drennan.
But Pierce's form of the condition was so complex that Bhattacharya decided to use a different method, using a new type of balloon catheter that had previously only been used in adults with aneurisms. Now he is to share his discovery with other specialists across the world.
"This breakthrough was a real team effort and will help with other difficult cases. There is quite an international collaboration for this disease - I will be speaking to my colleagues in Toronto and Paris and elsewhere about this technique," the Scotsman quoted Bhattacharya as saying.
Pierce's form of the condition required the sealing of so many fine blood vessels that Bhattacharya was unable to use conventional methods. He passed the balloon through the child's jugular vein to the brain, then injected a solidifying liquid, which he said was "like chewing gum", to finally seal the blood vessels. It is expected Pierce will now live a normal healthy life.